Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Treat For Fans of Halloween

Trick 'r Treat 2008
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writer: Michael Dougherty
Starring Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin, Rochelle Aytes, Quinn Lord, Tahmoh Penikett, Leslie Bibb, Brian Cox, Lauren Lee Smith and Monica Delain

This is a film I had been anticipating seeing ever since I first saw the trailer when I picked up the 300 DVD. I was worried it would not hold up to all the hyperbole and anticipation that it has garnered. I am happy to say that, this actually beats Drag Me To Hell as my favorite horror film of the year. This is a film that just fires on all cylinders. It is like a hybrid of Creepshow and Pulp fiction and it flows together flawlessly. This is a film all about the traditions of Halloween and how they have been disregarded and abused over the years. For fans of the holiday, this is a must see film and though it is a short film, clocking in at 82 minutes it is the perfect running time and I think any longer and it would have overstayed its welcome. It has a great ensemble cast that really plays off of each other well.
The plot basics are this, it is Halloween and a couple (Pinikett, Bibb) are returning from a party and the female decides to wrap up her holiday decorations. However, her man tries to dissuade her saying that it is bad luck to remove it till after Halloween but she does it anyway. Next we meet Steven (baker) a school principal who is a stickler for the traditions of Halloween and a dark secret. We now flash to Laurie (Paquin) who is hunting for a costume and seeming to try and lose her virginity on Halloween. Next we meet some teenagers, who are mesmerized by a horrible school bus accident and decide to go to the crash site and have some fun with a slow girl in the process. Finally we meet a hermit of a old man, Mr. Kreeg (Cox), who has a disdain for Halloween and is soon besieged by a psychotic trick 'r treater (Lord), and is fighting for his life. In the end all these characters and stories intersect.
This is an amazing film. Dougherty has a fine flair for visuals and what is scary. The film has both a sense of dread and fun permeating throughout the entire film.. He stages everything well and half the time you are taken into a completely different direction than you thought you were headed. The script is great as well, it is great how it bounces back and forth in time without seeming disjointed or confusing. The twists in the film are surprising and feel completely organic to the story. All the characters are really well rounded and fully realized. The cast is amazing, Baker as the somewhat crazed Halloween traditionalist is amazing. Paquin is very good as the innocent heroine, or so you think. Cox is great as the disgruntled Halloween Scrooge and you never expect his ending to turn out the way it does. The SFX is very good, it is very gory and splattery and it never looks cheesy or gratuitous. The werewolf transformations are in particular, amazing. The score by Douglas Pipes is very atmospheric and really plays well within the parameters of a Halloween themed film. This is a great appreciation and adoration of the Halloween holiday and any horror fan needs to see this film.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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